Antique Lacquer Cabinet on Carved Stand with Interior Drawer, China (16445LME) $450


H: 22″  W: 21.5″  D: 12.25″ | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

This elm storage cabinet has lacquered and painted door panels  auspicious paintings of birds, foliage, and florals.  One door panel has  a magpie on a plum tree and the other has a tree with a chrysanthemum below –  together they are wishes for double happiness, the birth of sons, and longevity.


This small elm cabinet is from Fujian province known for its unique style of highly decorative vernacular furniture. Large and small items were constructed with mortise-and- tenon joinery that made pieces stable, lengthened their life, and allowed woods to adapt to Asia’s variabilities of humidity and temperature. Pleasing to a new merchant class, vernacular furniture was often constructed in a red lacquer frame with doors, gilt borders, and auspicious symbols easily understood by an uneducated the nouveau riche class who favored red as the color of fu (prosperity and happiness).The left door panel portrays a magpie on plum tree branch and the right one has another near a chrysanthemum below. The magpie (xique) is the bird of joy and happiness (xi) and, as xi appears in both words, they form a verbal pun meaning double happiness. This pun is echoed visually by the two magpies, one on each panel. In the right panel, the magpie is above a chrysanthemum and these two words together mean “May the whole family be happy,” a indirect wish for sons. Blue magpies have long tails and are called  “longevity-tailed” and “ribbon-tailed” as their tails are similar to a long ribbon (shou) and a pun on longevity (shou). Cabinets with these symbols were perfect gifts for newlyweds as a desire for double happiness and a long and fruitful marriage with sons is central to Chinese cultural goals.  Often placed next to or near a kang, the Chinese platform used for working, living, sleeping, and entertaining, they were convenient for storage and low enough to double as a small table. It has a stand, opens to a wide interior drawer, and horseshoe feet. The sparkling border around the doors is inset with crushed shells, and the metal pulls on the doors and drawer are original. The lacquer frame is in excellent condition while the raised painted panels are cracked with and have some paint losses.

Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 22” W: 21.5” D: 12.25”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 55.88cm W: 54.61cm D: 31.11


Excellent, See Descripton

Item Number


Shipping Box Size